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New documentary premiering Wednesday on Netflix pulls back curtain on ‘Back to the Future’

Published Oct 20th, 2015 3:31PM EDT
Back to the Future Documentary

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Pepsi has a limited run of a special product on the way – Pepsi Perfect, a promotion set to arrive on October 21. Along those same lines, Nike is apparently working to release a new version of its cool self-lacing Air Mag sneakers.

What do these and other related events – like the town of Reston, Virginia, deciding to temporarily change its name to Hill Valley – have in common? Hold on to your flux capacitors: Marty McFly and Doc Brown are due to materialize in their DeLorean on October 21, which is tomorrow. That’s the moment when they arrived in 2015 in the second of the iconic “Back to the Future” movies, a date that will be marked with plenty of real-world fandom, meme-ing, brand tie-ins – and the release of a documentary about the cultural impact of the time-travel flicks 30 years later.

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Also on October 21, pre-orders are set to begin for a 6-LP vinyl release of the “Back to the Future” score.

It remains to be seen if Marty and Doc will still be appropriately gobsmacked by the technology and gizmos that greet them once they get here from 1985. Meanwhile, director Jason Aron has been busy overseeing last-minute details related to the release of his documentary “Back in Time,” a love letter of sorts to the 80s-era trilogy that will be released via digital channels like Netflix and iTunes on October 21.

The film includes interviews with actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, as well as directors Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg, among others. Huey Lewis, who sang the “Power of Love” theme song, also gets some camera time in the film, which will premiere in Los Angeles during the “We’re Going Back” festival that runs October 21-25.

Aron says he practically had to pinch himself during some of the film’s interviews. There was a moment, he recalls, during his interview with Fox where “once the calm had set in after the hectic setup and we’re right in the middle of it, it’s like, wow – I’m talking to Marty McFly about ‘Back to the Future’! And your 9-year-old self wakes up and is like – this is really happening.”

Zemeckis, the director who won an Oscar for “Forrest Gump,” also surprised Aron by telling him he thinks “Back to the Future” is the best thing he’s ever written.

Aron, who’s been working on the project for a few years now, thinks he has an idea about why the story of a skateboarding teenager and a white-haired, wild-eyed scientist who travel through time in a clunker of a car continues to resonate.

“I think the lack of follow-ups certainly created a situation where absence has made the heart grow fonder,” says Aron, whose love for “Back to the Future” dates back to his own childhood. “They didn’t reboot it. They left perfection alone. The popularity of the movie is in its writing and  execution, and it still crosses so many genres and appeals to so many people. It’s not like ‘Rocky.’ It left fans wanting more.”

The film wrapped up about a month ago and raised just shy of $200,000 through Kickstarter. Shooting took the crew everywhere from London to a Back to the Future event with hundreds of fans to Hendo Hoverboard for a shoot, as well as many other points in between.

During the month of November, the film crew also will be taking its project on the road. The “88 miles per hour Film and Music Tour” – 88 miles per hour being the point at which the DeLorean in the film would travel in time – will include a showing of the film. The tour will also include remarks from the documentary team and assorted “Back to the Future” cast members, in addition to a DeLorean replica, among other things.

The tour includes 15 shows across the U.S, starting in Oakland at the Paramount Theater Nov. 3 and wrapping up at the John Hancock Hall in Boston Nov. 24.

Helping stoke interest around the key date of October 21, boosting Aron’s film in the process, are brands like Pepsi also getting in on the act. Its Pepsi Perfect bottle will retail for $20.15. Amazon, meanwhile, is streaming all three “Back to the Future” movies for Prime Video subscribers this month, and the AMC cinema chain is hosting all-day screenings of the movies October 21.

Earlier this year, Nike designer Tinker Hatfield confirmed plans to release the Air Mag “Marty  McFly” shoe this year – a testament to the enduring appeal of one of the most recognizable, beloved movie franchises of all, no pun intended, time.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.